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Publications prepared by the ABS Initiative or its partners aim to stimulate substantive discussion and provide support to decision-making processes. If not mentioned otherwise the publications are published by the ABS Initiative.




Studying Existing ABS Agreements in Selected CARICOM Member States

The purpose of this report is to explore permits for the use of biological material or for research from a selection of Caribbean countries. The main question concerns the extent to which such permits serve the aims of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) mechanism under the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol. Several factors are at play in this regard.

Initiates file downloadStudying Existing ABS Agreements in Selected CARICOM Member States

ABS Key Points for Policy Makers on Six Industrial Sectors

This series of briefs on six different industrial sectors (agriculture, industrial biotechnology, botanicals, cosmetics, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals) provides governments, companies, researchers, communities and other ABS stakeholders with background Information to assist with the development of ABS measures to implement the Nagoya Protocol. The briefs are organised around key points on trends and practices in markets, research and development - indirectly and directly related to ABS. With many graphics illustrating important facts, figures and contexts the briefs are easy to understand. 


Industrial Biotechnology

Botanicals Industry

Cosmetics Industry

Food & Beverage Industry

Pharmaceutical Industry


Beyond the Thumbrule Approach: Regulatory Innovation for Bioprospecting in India

By Kabir Sanjay Bavikatte and Morten Walløe Tvedt, in: Law Environment and Development Journal, Vol 11, No.1, 2015, pp 1-24

This article discusses the India implementation of access and benefit sharing regulations. The Indian act has gained experience because of its years in force, and this article assesses the experiences. Towards the end, the article draws conclusions and provides proposals for the future. Bioprospecting works with high levels of unpredictability. (...) ABS as an innovative financing mechanism for biodiversity conservation can only work if real benefits from bioprospecting can be generated and local rights to biodiversity are respected.


Access and Benefit-sharing of Animal Genetic Resources - Using the Nagoya Protocol as a Framework for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Locally Adapted Livestock Breeds

By Ilse Koehler-Rollefson (League for Pastoral and Endogonous Livestock Development - LPP) and Hartmut Meyer (ABS Capacity Development Initiative), 12/2014

Animal genetic resources are an important subset of biological diversity, composed of the breeds and strains of domesticated animals that humankind has developed out of some 40 wild species over the last 10,000 years. They form the foundation of an industry valued at USD 1.4 trillion and are essential to the livelihoods of 1.3 billion people, including 600 million poor. Animal genetic resources fall under the purview of the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the Nagoya Protocol.

Linking Access and Benefit Sharing for Crop Genetic Resources to Climate Change Adaptation

By Tone Winge, in: Plant Genetic Resources, Vol 14, Issue 1, 03/2016, pp 11-27 (published online December 2014)

This article links the concept of Access and Benefit Sharing as it pertains to crop genetic resources to climate change adaptation and argues that systems for access and benefit sharing can, and should, be designed to contribute to climate change adaptation for agriculture.

Realizing Access and Benefit Sharing From Use of Genetic Resources Between Diverging International Regimes: the Scope for Leadership

By Kristin Rosendal, Steinar Andresen, The Fridtjof Nansen Institute, in: International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 12/2014, pp 1-1812/2014

This article examines how Access and Benefit Sharing in international transactions with genetic resources can be achieved and how Norway contributes to their realization.

Into ABS Implementation: Challenges and Opportunities for the Nagoya Protocol

By Morten Walløe Tvedt, The Fridtjof Nansen Institute, in: BIORES, Vol. 8, No. 8, Sept. 2014

This article explores some of the challenges facing the Nagoya Protocol, and looks at some possibilities for its implementation as a tool for funding conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

National Studies on ABS Implementation - Brazil, India, South Africa

National Study on ABS Implementation in Brazil, April 2014

National Study on ABS Implementation in Brazil - Information Document, April 2014

National Study on ABS Implementation in India, April 2014

National Study on ABS Implementation in India - Information Document, April 2014

National Study on ABS Implementation in South Africa, April 2014

National Studies on ABS Implementation in Brazil, India and South Africa: Comparative Analysis, July 2014

The ABS Capacity Development Initiative, in collaboration with the Governments of Brazil, India and South Africa, commissioned national studies to review each country’s experiences with Access and Benefit Sharing. Lessons learned from these experiences will inform the global implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. These studies were prepared to provide background information in preparation for the first Dialogue on Practical Ways Forward for the Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, hosted by the Gov-ernment of South Africa on 30-31 January 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa and the second Dialogue on the same topic, co-organized with the Ministry of Environment and Forests of India, from 4-6 August 2014 in Goa, India.

Protected Areas and ABS - Getting Most of the Two

By Balakrishna Pisupati, The Fridtjof Nansen Institute, FNI Report, 4/2014

The term "protected area" is defined in Art. 2 of the CBD as "a geographically defined area, which is designated and regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives". One of the most successful programmes that is being implemented globally under the CBD is the one on protected Areas (PA). The Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) received a lot of attention and support.

The Australian ABS Framework - a Model Case for Bioprospecting?

By: Christian Prip, G. Kristin Rosendal, Steinar Andresen and Morten Walløe Tvedt, The Fridtjof Nansen Institute, FNI Report 1/2014

Australian ABS legislation is advanced and pioneering in giving national effect to the third objective of the CBD with mandatory permits for all biodiscovery and mandatory benefit sharing agreements for biodiscovery with a commercial intent. Nevertheless, under Commonwealth legislation there is still only one biodiscovery case involving commercial benefit sharing. This is spite of persistent interest in biodiscovery.


Biodiversity in the Patent System

By One World Analytics (Paul Oldham, Colin Barnes, Stephen Hall), 2013

Country studies of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in the patent system of relevance to Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa

The Interface Between the Nagoya Protocol and the ITPGRFA at the International Level - Potential Issues for Consideration in Supporting Mutually Supportive Implementation at the National Level

By Jorge Cabrera Medaglia, Morten Walløe Tvedt, Frederic Perron-Welch, Ane Jørem and Freedom-Kai Phillips, FNI Report 1/2013

This study is a contribution from the FNI as part of a research project on Access and Benefit Sharing carried out in co-operation with the ABS Initiative. It clarifies overlaps and possible areas of different rules and identifies the core articles in the NP relevant to the implementation of the ITPGRFA.

Benefit Sharing in Practice: Advancing Equitable Benefit Sharing in Africa

By the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), 2013

Biodiversity represents a unique opportunity, particularly in Africa. The wealth of African biodiversity constitutes a potentially significant source of innovation for companies working with natural ingredients in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors. Ethical sourcing of biodiversity provides a strategy to advance sustainable development and improve human well-being, as recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


Towards Access and Benefit Sharing Best Practice - Pacific Case Studies

By Dr Daniel Robinson, The University of New South Wales, 2012

Four case studies from the Pacific were selected to demonstrate some of the attributes that would be expected of ‘best practice’ biological research (often broadly described as ‘biodiscovery’) access and benefit-sharing agreements, as well as the challenges that stakeholders face in seeking to achieve the fair and equitable sharing of benefits.

The Access and Benefit Sharing Agreement on Teff Genetic Resources

By Regine Andersen and Tone Winge, The Fridtjof Nansen Institute, FNI Report 6/2012, Lysaker

This report tells the story of an agreement on access to teff genetic resources in Ethiopia, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use, that was hailed as one of the most advanced of its time. This agreement between the Ethiopian Institute of Biodiversity Conservation and the Dutch company Health and Performance Food International was entered into in 2005. It was seen as a pilot case of the implementation the Convention on Biological Diversity in terms of access and benefit sharing, and expectations were high. And yet, implementation of the agreement failed.

Access and Benefit Sharing Agreement on Teff, by Regine Andersen and Winge Tone, in: Trade Insight, No 1, pp. 29-31, 2013.

Access to, Equity and Protection of Genetic Resources in Ghana: The Case of Tilapia (O. niloticus) 

By: Rosendal, G. Kristin, Ingrid Olesen and Morten Walløe Tvedt, The Fridtjof Nansen Institute, FNI Report 15/2012

Ghana is a latecomer to ABS legislation although the principle of benefit sharing has long traditions in Ghanaian society, also in the aquaculture sector. Experiences from bioprospecting deals have often been negative, similar to many other cases in Africa. This underscores the need for ABS legislation and institutions also in Ghana. For aquaculture and tilapia, access issues have most relevance in a regional sense and hence it is important to retain open access to tilapia genetic material between the countries of the greater Volta region, probably more important than ensuring benefits from others’ use.

Gap Analysis Report African Union Model Law English

A Gap Analysis Report on the African Model Law on the Protection of the Rights of Local Communities, Farmers and Breeders, and for the Regulation of Access to Biological Resources. Februar 2012.

Executive Summary Gap Analysis Report African Union Model Law English


The Interface Between Sustainable Forest Management and ABS - Outlining Potential Potential Areas of Synergy - February 2010

By Jorge Cabrera, Olivier Rukundo and Frederic Perron-Welch, 02/2010.

The question of access and benefit sharing (ABS) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (the Convention)1 embraces a complex and varied set of issues that are directly relevant to sustainable forest management (SFM). Forests are some of the most important repositories of biodiversity, and genetic resources are often used in support of forest-related activities (i.e. tree breeding, sylviculture, product processing). The use of forest genetic resources and forest resources in general involves a broad range of stakeholders who are either custodians, providers or users of forest resources. 



The following guides help stakeholders or other interested parties to find their way through the ABS jungle. These guides are topic-specific or targeted towards particular groups.


An Online Permit and Monitoring System Supporting National Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS

This concept paper sets out the concept and model for an online research permit and monitoring system to facilitate national implementation of the access, benefit sharing, monitoring and reporting provisions of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

An Online Permit and Monitoring System Supporting National Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS

Introduction to Drafting Successful ABS Contracts

This booklet provides an extremely brief summary of the main rules, issues and questions that the parties to an ABS transaction must be aware of when negotiating, drafting and implementing an ABS contract. Clearly, a pamphlet of this size cannot provide an actual guide to these issues – its goal is to introduce the information contained in a researched book that has been developed going more into Details of contracting for ABS, offering practical lessons and guidance to the persons who might have the responsibility for negotiating and drafting ABS contracts.

Introduction to Drafting Successful ABS Agreements (English)

Concept for National ABS Gap Analysis

This gap analysis checklist is intended for use in the African Partner countries that the ABS Capacity Development Initiative is supporting on the national implementation of the Nagoya Protocol (NP) and the African Union Strategic and Practical Guidelines for the Coordinated Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in Africa (AU Guidelines). This checklist could also be used in other than African countries. In that case, the reference to the AU Guidelines will be obsolete or can be replaced by other applicable regional guidelines.

Concept for National ABS Gap Analysis (English)

Concept for National ABS Gap Analysis (French)

Strategic Communication - A Conceptual Guide and Toolkit for Practitioners

This Guide offers advice about the role, relevance and use of communication for implementing Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) systems at the national level. It provides an overview of communication considerations, approaches and methods for the different phases of ABS implementation.

Strategic Communication for ABS - A Conceptual Guide and Toolkit for Pracitioners, January 2016, English

Communication Stratégique en matière d'APA, Janvier 2016, French

Comunicación estratégica para ABS, enero 2016, Spanish

Comunicação Estratégica para ABS, Janeiro 2016, Portuguese


African Union (AU) Guidelines on ABS

The ABS Initiative supported, also based on the results a gap analysis, the development of the African Union (AU) policy and technical guidelines for the coordinated implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in Africa, endorsed by the 27th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU. The two documents provide strategic and practical step by step directions and tools to guide African countries in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.

African Union (ABS) Strategic Guidelines on ABS

African Union (ABS) Practical Guidelines on ABS

UA lignes directrices strategiques sur APA

UA lignes directrices pratiques sur APA

Mutually Supportive Implementation of the Plant Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol - A Primer for National Focal Points and Other Stakeholders (Draft)

By Michael Halewood, Bioversity international, 2015 

The overall objective of this report – and the survey, workshop and follow-up analysis upon which it is based - is to provide national policy actors with a tool to increase their ability and confidence to implement the CBD/NP and ITPGRFA/MLS in mutually supportive ways. The report's content is partly based on the Tandem Workshop for National Focal Points from 3-6 June 2014.

French Version of the primer


How (Not) to Negotiate Access and Benefit Agreements

By Kabir Bavikatte, Susanne Heitmüller, Valérie Normand, Morten Walløe Tvedt, July 2014 

Along real cases and different scenarios this manuel assists those negotiating Access and Benefit Sharing agreements. These cases and scenarios tease out the lessons to be learnt based on the authors' experience. The manual seeks to be holistic offering a hands-on approach to negotiating ABS agreements.

The ABS Agreement - Key Elements and Commentary

By Kabir Bavikatte, Susanne Heitmüller, Hartmut Meyer, Valérie Normand, Pierre du Plessis, Morten Walløe Tvedt, July 2014 

This publication lays out what an effective ABS agreement should look like. What makes it so distinct and which elements should it contain?

The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol: Intellectual Property Implications - A Handbook on the Interface between Global Access and Benefit Sharing Rules and Intellectual Property

By UNCTAD, 2014

Clear, fair and equitable rules on ABS are critical to prevent the misappropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge (TK). This handbook is designed as one means to begin to fill the gap in understanding where the Nagoya Protocol text has chosen to remain silent. It addresses how the global rules on ABS of genetic resources and associated TK should work in tandem with an area that is mentioned minimally in the 2010 Nagoya Protocol, i.e., intellectual property (IP). Specifically, this handbook is designed to show the complexity of relevant IP policies that have an impact on various aspects of the CBD and the Protocol, particularly from the provider country perspective.


Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing: Manual for the Assessment of Policies and Practices Around Natural Ingredient Supply Chains

By the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), 2013

This manual was developed to support the work of its trading and affiliate members, accredited verification bodies, and other organizations committed to Ethical BioTrade. The objective is to facilitate the implementation of equitable benefit sharing in Ethical BioTrade. To this end, it explains what the requirements of equitable benefit sharing in the Ethical BioTrade Standard mean in practice.


Biocultural Community Protocols - A Toolkit for Practitioners

By Natural Justice, 2012

Indigenous peoples and many local communities have unique protocols,
procedures, rules, and regulations (referred to as ‘protocols’) that regulate
their interactions within and between communities and with the territories and areas upon which they depend. Protocols provide clarity to community members about rights, responsibilities, and appropriate behaviour. Respecting and acting according to community protocols helps ensure social cohesion and reinforces customary laws, values, and decision-making processes

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheets

Policy Papaer - How ABS and the Nagoya Protocol contribute to the Sustainable Development Agenda

This paper details the links to ABS in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Nagoya Protocol’s indirect support of the SDGs and their targets. The document underlines the relevance of ABS for achieving the SDGs, on matters as wide ranging as poverty alleviation, food security, climate change, health, economic growth, innovation, oceans and governance. It also explains the many direct and indirect references made to ABS in several SDG targets, which are shown in several tables.

Initiates file downloadPolicy Paper - ABS and SDGs (English)

Initiates file downloadPolicy Paper - ABS and SDGs (French)

Relevance of Marine Bioprospecting for ABS Frameworks

By Dr. Hartmut Meyer, Lena Fey, Wilma Brinkmeyer (ABS Initiative), July 2014

The utilisation of marine genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge has long been sidelined in the discussions on access to genetic resources and fair and equitable benefit sharing (ABS). But over the last three decades, research and development based on marine genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge advanced tremendously.

Also published in: Outreach - on climate change and sustainable development, a multi-stakeholder Magazine

Biocultural Community Protocols

By Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, 2012

Biocultural Community Protocols (BCPs) are instruments that set out clear terms and conditions to governments and the private, research, and non-profit sectors for engaging with indigenous peoples and local communities (ILPCs) and accessing their local resources and knowledge. They are developed through culturally rooted, participatory decision-making processes within the communities and are based on communities’ customary norms, values, and laws.